Our Spring 2019 field trip focussed on two distinct and fascinating areas of central Victoria; the Swiss-Italian area north of Daylesford and the Castlemaine Diggings Historic area. Both places have a rich heritage of dry stone walls and other evocative remnants of early European settlement and gold exploration.
Local waller and DSWAA professional member, Richard Vivian, took us to see three of his recent projects in the area. First a dry stone channel linking a dam down a hill to a spiral then onto a bigger dam – an intricate and creative sculptural landscape.
The slender wall on this property was also sculptural as it wound around and through trees and down steep slopes. The steel gate was constructed using only rivets.
The extraordinary Daylesford Longhouse (110m) won the Robin Boyd Residential Architecture Award and is a farm and cooking school with huge indoor gardens growing fruit and vegetables. The building transected the original dry stone wall, now reconstructed as a linear form complementing the structure and the landscape.
We finished the trip with a look at the Guildford River Red Gum – said to be one of the largest in Victoria with an unusual but apparently natural graft in its massive branches. A quiet spot for afternoon tea finished off the day nicely.
Missed on the main tour, we found on the road out, the 1870s Duke of Cornwall Engine House near Franklinford – a massive stone and brick structure which would originally have had beams projecting out of the arched openings, a crushing battery and several large furnaces.